The University purchased a ThermoScientific Neptune Plus, a state of the art instrument in MC ICP-MS in the summer of 2012. The instrument is housed in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
The instrument has a jet interface to increase sensitivity, is equipped with 3 Secondary Electron Multipliers (for measuring low abundance isotopes) and two RPQ filters (for increased abundance sensitivity). The instrument is also equipped with one 1010Ω and two 1012Ω resistors to permit a dynamic range in Faraday detection of up to 400 V. The instrument is available for routine determination of the isotope composition of Li, Fe, Sr, Nd, Pb, U and Th in different materials (e.g marine carbonates, rocks, bulk sediments). Additional isotope systems (Mo, Hg, B) are under development. In addition to a standard glass spray chamber, the facility is also equipped with both the Apex and Aridus II sample introduction systems, either of which provide increased sensitivity and reduced poly-atomic interferences.
The MC ICP-MS facility is used to characterize the isotope composition of different elements in a variety of different materials including rocks, fluids and biological phases. Projects which use the instrument focus on modern and ancient redox cycles, sea-level reconstruction and paleoclimate, volcanology and mantle dynamics, groundwater, seawater evolution, environmental studies and the microbial cycling of heavy metals.
The instrument is used by members of the University, and is also available to researchers from outside the University. The instrument is available on a fee schedule based on time of use and the need for assistance. Alternatively, samples may be submitted to the facility for analysis through arrangement with the facility researchers.